ORNL Finds Refrigerant Alternatives to Be Clean and Durable in Intense Heat

Oct. 20, 2016

New study provides evidence that HFC refrigerant replacements can be used across all climate zones and building types.

Hydrofluorocarbons, cooling chemicals commonly used to air condition buildings, can be hundreds to thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide and can last for centuries after it’s released into the Earth’s atmosphere.

While it has been an option to use more environmentally friendly refrigerants, the resistance from FMs to incorporate new cooling solutions in their rooftop units has been predicated on fears of inefficiency in comparison to their current systems.

A new study from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) provides substantial evidence that viable replacements for HFC refrigerants can be used across all building types and climate zones. The report from ORNL's High-Ambient-Temperature Evaluation Program for Low-Global Warming Potential Refrigerants states that the most climate-unfriendly refrigerants, R-22 and R-410A, can be replaced with cleaner alternatives that allow equipment to maintain existing performance in extremely warm temperatures.  

This report is the second in a series to evaluate substitute refrigerants in high-ambient conditions. The first concluded the same results when applying alternative solutions in mini-split air conditioners.

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